May 2018 Books and Other Updates

Oh man, I haven’t posted in quite a while! And here I thought that after Camp NaNoWriMo, I should have more time to take care of this blog. It didn’t turn out that way, sadly, but I do think that May came with some developments.

7235533 The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

Remember when I started this book earlier this year? Well, guess what? The impossible happened! I’ve finally finished it! Yay!

I don’t think it surprises anyone more than me that I took this long to read a Sanderson book. I usually gobble them up in a couple of weeks, and all of them are pretty much doorstoppers.

I don’t know what was up with this one. I felt like the plot was too slow; there were too many diversions (such as the constant flashbacks to Kaladin’s childhood, and the multiple chapters dedicated to extraneous characters). I know this was done for the sake of worldbuilding, but one of the things that always pulled me in Sanderson’s books is his twisty plotlines. There wasn’t much of that in this book — there wasn’t actually much of a well-contained plot, to be more specific. We just follow the lives of several characters, and sort of hop along for the ride. Which was why it was so difficult to pick up the book after a diversion happened or I’ve put it down — I know that when I picked up the book, I’ll just be going back to one of the character’s every day life.

I did care quite a bit about Kaladin, and the twist that happened at the end was nice; I saw it coming, and hoped it would happen some time in the middle of the book. It came a little too late for me. Unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be reading the rest of the series. I might just continue on with the next trilogy in the Mistborn saga instead.

Schoolism

I’ve been trying to work my way through every single weekly assignment of Nathan Fowke’s Pictorial Composition course. It’s quite demanding, and I usually spend 2-3 weeks on each one. As I was wrapping up the 3rd lecture, I realized I wouldn’t be able to sustain the pace I was going, especially if I wanted to work on my project. (Can you believe that the next Camp NaNoWriMo is just around the corner? In a couple of weeks, I’d need to start preparing for it again!)

So I figured, I bought a self-taught subscription anyway, so I reviewed all the lectures again, and moved on. I wrote notes so when I’m making my own artwork, I can refer and apply the principles. I was thinking of taking his Environmental Design course, but just as soon as I started, I decided to switch first to the Color and Light Design. It seemed like something more fundamental I needed to learn.

My Story 

After finishing the 2nd draft in April, I knew that I had even more streamlining to do. At first I thought I would have to re-work everything again, take it apart by the seams and find a way to put it back together again in a much simpler way. The good news is that I think I managed to do that without totally disturbing the original flow of the plot. I still have to write a proper outline and see if things still manage to work out — I might have to do a bit of patching, but hopefully I will have a much easier time with this than the first two drafts.

Some Real Life Updates

One of the biggest updates from last month is that I finally, finally passed my driver’s test! Aaah, after taking the exam 3 times, I finally passed this time around! I am so relieved! I don’t have to dread practice lessons anymore. I can finally feel more at peace during the weekends, which is starting to feel like a weekend again! I honestly thought I would fail again, because I made a few mistakes during the test, but fortunately, they were not that big. Anyway, I’m just super relieved about it.

This is really good development, especially because we’re experiencing a shortage of people in my team at work — several members of the team resigned all within a few months of each other, and the remaining people are mostly the new ones. So I really gotta roll up my sleeves and step up a bit. I think we’ll be fine though. But at least I don’t have driving to stress me out anymore.

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